Especially during these cool evenings a great way to finish a meal is with a Dessert or Fortified wine. As a general rule the wine should be sweeter than the food you are eating. Anything from a sweet sparkling wine to the more traditional port or sweet sherry can complement dishes – from a simple dessert to a cheese plate.
There are a few ways to increase the sweetness in a wine. Late harvest wines are left on the vine to ripen to increase sugar levels. Botrytis is a type of fungus that infects the fruit causing dehydration and increased sugar concentration as well as imparting ginger and honey characteristics.
Harvested grapes can also be dried in the sun before pressing. Iced wines are produced when the fruit is harvested and pressed while frozen which reduces the amount of water in the berry.
Fortified wines are made by adding alcohol (usually Brandy) to stop the ferment leaving residual sugar behind. Once the alcohol level gets to around 17% the yeast is killed and the ferment stops. The sweetness will vary depending on how much sugar is left.
Australia is home to some great dessert wines and some of the world’s best fortifieds. Come in to XO Cellars and we can help you pick the perfect wine to match your favourite dishes.